I Don’t Think I’m The Crazy One

I’ve come to the conclusion that… I’m not the crazy one for wanting to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. Yesterday I went for a 10 mile hike with a full 25 pound pack, and it was the longest hike I’ve been on in months. The weather was at a perfect 60 degrees. There were still plenty of pretty autumn leaves to look at. I felt mentally and physically positive all 10 miles. It was one of the most incredible hikes I’ve gone on in quite some time. The first 2 miles were a straight uphill climb to the summit. I listened to music the whole way because it sort of helped keep a steady tempo. It also kept me distracted from the burning sensation in my calves. So I don’t feel that much deep thought was done during those 2 miles. I summited and then began hiking a side trail that ended up being an 8 mile loop. I felt confident, refreshed, and ready to push myself. I took my headphones out because I really wanted to take in the solitude feeling. I had seen many other hikers on the summit trail, but I was alone on the loop trail. I walked miles and miles just thinking about the crunching leaves below my feet. It kind of became music to my ears. The OCD in me tried the same step in pace to keep the beat going. I then began to think how this “loop” was much like the summit trail- a steady incline. Which then made me think about how I imagine much of the AT feeling like this. A steady, uphill battle. *Cue Miley Cyrus lyrics*. It’s all about the climb, and I strangely enjoy those heart pounding moments. I might lose that joy after 2,190 miles of heart pound on the AT, but for now it encourages me. It keeps me going. I am about to be 22 years old. I am in fairly good hiking shape. I am healthy. I am strong. During that uphill climb, I kept noticing how beautiful the woods were that surrounded me. How every bare tree was unique. How the air smelled so clean. Every deep breath was refreshing. How could someone not love all those experiences? How could someone not love forgetting about worries of the world for the day? These are moments I live for. Moments when you realize what life is truly about. I realize more and more how hiking has made me a better person. My mental health and stability are greater now than ever before in my life. I should really go on long day hikes more often. Because every time I go, I’m reminded as to why I’m working so hard to make it to June of 2016 where I will begin my 2,190 mile SOBO hike home. I’m not crazy for wanting to live in the woods for 5 months. I think you’re truly missing out on the beauty that surrounds us. Get out and hike. It doesn’t have to be 10 miles. Go for 1 mile. I promise you’ll learn something new about yourself. Cheers to life and happy trails!

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